If this is true, how do we communicate?

Reply Mon 8 Jul, 2013 01:26 pm
Accepted Model for Brain Signaling Flawed


A new study in the journal Science turns two decades of understanding about how brain cells communicate on its head. The study demonstrates that the tripartite synapse -- a model long accepted by the scientific community and one in which multiple cells collaborate to move signals in the central nervous system -- does not exist in the adult brain.
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Reply Mon 8 Jul, 2013 02:15 pm
No surprise to some...
Maturana and Varela explicitly reject the cognitivist view of cognition as information processing. "This would mean that such inputs or outputs are part of the definition of the system, as in the case of a computer or other machines that have been engineered. To do this is entirely reasonable when one has designed a machine whose central feature is the manner in which we interact with it. The nervous system (or the organism), however, has not been designed by anyone... (T)he nervous system does not 'pick up information' from the environment, as we often hear... The popular metaphor of calling the brain an 'information-processing device' is not only ambiguous but patently wrong." (Maturana & Varela, 1987, p. 169)

....from Maturana, H. R. & Varela, F. J. (1987). The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding.
Lustig Andrei
Reply Mon 8 Jul, 2013 06:34 pm
Good quote, fresco, but it doesn't answer the question in the thread's headline -- then how do we communicate? Obviously there must be another kind of 'software' to enable the brain to function as we know it does.
Reply Mon 8 Jul, 2013 11:59 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
The usual concept of "communication" is essentially tied in with "information transfer". Maturana (et al) reject that view and offer a resonance type alternative which they call "structural coupling". This is counter-intuitive to everyday ideas of "information" leading to "pictures in the mind" and essentially deflates "thinking" to an epiphenomenon of behavior. In this way we can be considered biologically as no different to species "without minds".

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Reply Tue 9 Jul, 2013 10:43 am
(T)he nervous system does not 'pick up information' from the environment, as we often hear... >>

Yes, but isn't the pick up information from the environment started by one of our five senses?
Reply Tue 9 Jul, 2013 12:55 pm
Alas...to understand Maturana you have to start from first principles and dump normal concepts of "the five senses" which we think of as "transducers of information from an external reality ". M starts with "the organism" which responds to "perturbations" by alterations to its structure. There is no assumption of an "external reality"...only modifications of internal structure.
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